Big on both comfort and style, these boots are still fit for walking, so long as the terrain isn’t too technical.
Available in multiple widths
Fashionable and functional
Lack of grip on the outsole
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LL Bean Women’s Bean Boot: first impressions
The LL Bean Women’s Bean Boot is one of the latest iterations of an iconic piece of footwear – the Bean Boot – that’s been handmade in the brand’s factory in Brunswick, Maine since 1912.
With a full waterproof rubber shoe stitched to a tall, supple leather cuff, and lined with the same lamb shearling the brand uses in its slippers, the LL Bean Women’s Bean Boot is amazing to slip into for urban excursions and rural rambles.
The leather upper is tumbled to make it supple, then triple stitched to the base. Inside, a steel shank supports your foot and smooths out the terrain. All of which adds up to a boot that’s significantly different to many others we tested for our The best women’s winter boots buying guide, but still impresses.
• RRP: $229 (US) / £225.50 (UK)
• Sizes available: 6-11
• Insulation: Lamb shearling lining 200g Thinsulate underfoot
• Weight (per boot): 1,588g / 3 lb, 8oz
• Colors: Maple & Brown / Brown
LL Bean Women’s Bean Boot: on the trails
You can dress this boot up or dress it down – LL Bean’s shearling-lined Bean Boot takes a Maine classic and adds coziness and warmth.
The Shearling lining pairs with Thinsulate underfoot for legit insulation against cold (see also: What to wear for winter hiking to stay warm). Just as adept as the original, the boot has good ankle support, thanks to lacing from the top of the foot to mid-calf. Grommets in the tongue let me fold down the shearling tongue when I lace them – best for dry, temperate wearing. And I have no trouble getting into them, thanks to a handy oversized back loop.
There are a couple of negatives: the soft soles aren’t great for hiking on variable terrain, and the chain print outsole doesn’t grip as well as the kind of winter-specific lugged soles you find on the best winter hiking boots.
If you typically wear heavy socks, order these hiking boots in your standard size. If you usually opt for a thinner sock, size down.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.